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El turista exige, el prergrino agradece

"The tourist demands, the pilgrim thanks/appreciates"

The cover page of the Via de la Plata Pilgrims Group Facebook page declares the above. The intent is clear, even if the literal interpretation is perhaps a bit harsh. I say this in the context of having just spent three days in Paris, with no pretence of being anything other than a tourist.

Our Paris trip was only ever an add-on at the start of this trip – since "we were going to be in the area we thought we'd drop in". The main purpose of the broader trip is indeed to be a pilgrim - not that that labels sits all that comfortably with me (and more of that later) - to which we added a trip to Brittany to visit friends Howard and Grace Boorman, and then, as I said, since we were in the area ...

So Paris it was. Whilst I had been to Europe many times over the last decade or so, this was my first trip back to Paris in almost 45 years. And hadn't things had changed and stayed the same? We stayed in a tiny apartment on the left bank, just one street back from the river and a 2-minute walk from the hive of activity which is the Notre Dame reconstruction. I'm sure that the essence of the bars and cafes remains the same as it has for perhaps a century, but just like almost any other major city every imaginable cuisine types is readily available. Sometimes it was hard to discern French being spoken, English and Spanish being obviously prevalent. The majestic buildings along the Seine were as magnificent as ever. The major landmarks - and yes, tourist attractions - are as awe-inspiring today as they've ever been. In just two-and-a-half days on the ground we probably walked some 50 klms along the river, through museums and art galleries, up stairs, down stairs, to cafes and restaurants, to, from and around attractions. Time well spent.

I'd like to think that we were not demanding, but rather that we were indeed appreciative of what we had seen and done in in those brief days. Here's a bit of a summary.

The trip from home to here went remarkably smoothly, with only one small heart-stopping moment before we had even left Dunsborough. Neighbour Graeme Missen took us down into town, and for one moment we thought we had somehow missed our very first bus. Logic told us we hadn't but of course at the start of a big trip logic often gives way to emotion. But the bus did indeed turn up, and so late Sunday afternoon saw us heading up to Perth for an 8:30pm arrival, a sleep-over at David and Shelley's place, and then the three flight hop Perth-Singapore-Helsinki-Paris, arriving into Charles de Gaulle airport right on time at around 9:30 Tuesday morning. By then we'd been some 21 hours in the air, and after allowing for stop-overs, almost 30 hours since we first arrived at Perth airport. Not sure if we'd be particularly jet-lagged, we planned no more than a walking tour around Montmartre. As it turned out we weren't (jet-lagged), and the walk around Montmartre (and the walk up there) was the perfect start to the visit.

I had known that the Montmartre area was the hangout places for the artists, musicians and bohemians of the 19th and early 20th centuries, but I hadn't really known why, nor had I appreciated nor understood the significance of tge Paris Commune nor the massacre that resulted. At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, the great benefit of travel is to gain a deeper appreciation of some of the cultural underpinnings of the places one visits.

A few photos of that walk follow:


Just a street in Montmatre ...

The only original windmill left in Montmatre ...

Another street ...

Sacré Coeur basilica

View from Sacré Coeur.

The next day, Wednesday, was pure tourism, and I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Notre Dame under reconstruction.

The Seine.

Some Louvre shots, here and below ...

The world's most famous painting????

What the close-ups don't show ...

Napoleon's formal dining room in La Louvre

From the very top ...

We chose not to buy a small glass of €22 Moet, choosing a photo instead ...

Tourists ...

There was a ceremony at the Arc de Triompe - we didn't work out what it was - but I did break my "never take a photo of the man with a gun" rule :-)

Pretty good location for a "post Arc" glass of bubbly ...

Yesterday, Thursday, we had limited ourselves to just one formal activity, a trip to the Musée d'Orsay. The last time I was in Paris this was still a train station, although the fading memory doesn't let me recall whether I travelled though it at the time.

But the formal activity was preceded by some others. Sunrise is late-ish, so I grabbed my camera and went for a walk around the river, just to take in the scene. Paris has a darker underbelly, which I might chat about later - for the moment though the river at dawn is spectacular.

EV stations - fairly common, although we didn't seem to see very many EVs ...

And then after the obligatory croissant and cafe for breakfast, we walked around the corner to the L'église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. Why, you ask? Well, so that I could sit on the church steps and wait to be transported back in time as happened to the main character Gil in the wonderfully silly Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris. It's a fun movie, and there's also a series of not quite coincidental links to some of our other activities, as the artists of Montmartre and the impressionist period feature in both the movie and that afternoon's museum visit.

The steps of L'église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, followed by a couple of Pantheon shots ...

And now some Musée d'Orsay photos - hopefully self-explanatory - follow.

This is the third time we've been lucky to see the original "Starry Night" ...

The ballroom of the hotel originally attahed to the D'Orsee railyway station

The ever so grand D'Orsee chamber - you can just about imagine the trains going through ...

I first drafted this on Friday (8th) whilst on the train to Guingamp in Brittany, for a few nights there before the real adventure starts. It's taken me a couple of days to finish it, but here we go ...

Tourist or no, I've fully appreciated these last few days ...

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12 commentaires

11 sept. 2023

Wow!!! You guys got a lot accomplished in 2.5 days in Paris!! Sooo lovely!!! I love the Musee d’Orsay and appreciate the photo showing the view of the train station. Looks like the weather was spectacular!! Ultreia, my friends!!

12 sept. 2023
En réponse à

Hola Kerri. Presently sitting at the Taberna Real in central Madrid, with un vino tinto, una cafe con leche y una tarta de Santiago. Life is good. All being well a blog update to follow en la manana ...


Tania Herbert
Tania Herbert
10 sept. 2023

Loved every moment of reading this post and the photos!! Beautiful! Felt I was there! Enjoy!


10 sept. 2023

Like you, I haven’t visited Paris for 45 years so your descriptions and photos were very much appreciated. We have only been back 3 weeks (from Italy & southern France) and I have itchy feet again! Looking forward to reading about your next adventure. Safe travels, Susan P.


10 sept. 2023

That guest comment about a catch up on your return was from me - Susan . Will sign it next time


10 sept. 2023

Oh Peter . Thank you so much . I felt I was there in beautiful Paris . I do love Paris . Your photos and your words transported me . Can’t wait to continue as a vicarious traveller . Lots of love to you and Janet . Safe travels and thank you for taking me with you. We must have the coffee or wine when you are home . Xxx

10 sept. 2023
En réponse à

Dear Guest#4c18!!!! Thanks for your comments. The way of the blog world is that unless you have subscribed or signed in, your comments are anonymous. We obviously know each other, but I can't figure who you are. So, yes, let's have that coffee/wine, but you'll have to introduce yourself first :-) ...

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